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Sunday, September 11, 2005


America's Third World Country

Mike Higgins (whom I ought to keep in touch with better) over at Chocolate and Gold Coins made an interesting statement in my comments section earlier. To quote, “My opinion is that this disaster seemed to be a culmination of many levels of bad government. Poor planning, low preparedness, slow response...everything that you might see in India or even Africa.” While I agree, I must make a point. It's been four years today since the attacks on September 11, and I remember being proud of how well the US government handled the situation. Watching the aftermath from Hurricane Katrina in person (as opposed to the news, haven't had much time for anything but local news lately), I realize how far we've gone backwards. Four years ago we had a government of action that stepped up to solve the problem of international terrorism. Today we have a government of inaction, delays and bureaucracy. Not much has changed in the last two weeks. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, taking refuge in Baton Rouge or elsewhere, and the government, though it may be solving some problems, is largely invisible. Our Senators, Landrieu and Vitter, are busy pointing fingers, our Governor has been missing for a week now (probably not leaving the Temporary Governor's Mansion just a few blocks away from here, and costing tax payers $6,000 a month). Only the mayor of Baton Rouge has been active (sure, Mayor Nagin from New Orleans can talk all he wants, but he hasn't done much), ensuring that with the aid of the Red Cross, evacuees have food and water and a roof over their heads, even if it is the Baton Rouge River Center.

When I look at it, only one thing has improved as far as America's response to disaster, and that is the citizens of this country. The number of donations is astounding, and the people of Louisiana and Texas who have taken these evacuees in really gives me a sense of civic pride, and I hope I'm not the only one.

You know, I talk to a lot of people in Europe, and when they ask where I'm from I always reply, “Louisiana, America's Third World Country.” Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, my attempt at a joke has now become truth.

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